Under a national partnership deal struck between the states and the commonwealth in 2011 under the Gillard government, all states were meant to have reached a benchmark of seeing 90 per cent of patients in emergency departments within four hours from January 1 this year.
The agreement included rewards of $50 million a year for reaching this target, but in the federal budget last year the government abolished the payments.
NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner said, because of that, “there is currently no formal target tied to rewards payments”.
NSW intended to keep to last year’s target of 81 per cent instead of using the new target of 90 per cent, she said.
Although emergency department performance has been improving, it has not met national benchmarks…..
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is predicting that public hospital emergency department waiting times will now rise not by a factor of minutes but by hours in 2015.
If a medical practice decides to use the AMA recommended schedule of fees and abandon bulk-billing all together, then concessional patients (such as aged and disability pensioners or children under 16 years) will also have to pay an upfront fee of $75 for a 10 minutes consultation and be $34.95 out-of-pocket.
For non-concessional patients seen by their doctor for between 6 and 10 minutes the rebate reduction will increase their out-of-pocket expense to $20.10 from 19 January rising to $25.10 after 30 June 2015.